Accelerate positive change in your school and community

Grounded in action research, transformative education, and youth leadership, coursework will energize your teaching practice and advance your knowledge.

Choose your pathway: the Micro Certificate of Graduate Study (12 credits) or the Certificate of Graduate Study (18 credits).

You’ll practice change-making skills and deepen your expertise in bringing Education for Sustainability to life for learners. You’ll also advance your career, demonstrate a commitment to building a more sustainable future, realign your practice with your values, and build a professional network.

Offered in partnership with the University of Vermont.

How to Apply

We are currently accepting applications for a Summer 2024 start!


Coursework is designed for practicing PreK–12, post-secondary, and informal educators.

On-site gatherings at Shelburne Farms, coupled with online sessions, form the foundation of both certificates.

Core Requirements for Both Certificates

1. Foundations in Education for Sustainability/EDCI 6430

Grow your understanding of social-ecological systems, consider strategies for youth voice and agency, and practice change-making skills. The recommended introduction to EFS.

  • Online sessions in July
  • In-person retreat in July at Shelburne Farms
  • All coursework due in August
  • 3 graduate credits

2. Immersion in Education for Sustainability/EDCI 6440

Reflect, learn, and collaborate as you critically evaluate pedagogy and practice. Foundations in EFS is a recommended precursor to this course.

  • Online sessions in July and August
  • In-person retreat in August at Shelburne Farms
  • All coursework due in August 
  • 3 graduate credits

3. Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy/EDCI 6450 and EDCI 6460

Form a peer network with fellow leaders committed to better aligning education toward ecological integrity, economic vitality, and social justice. Foundations and Immersion in EFS are recommended precursors.

  • Year-long program with virtual sessions throughout the year, plus four in-person retreats 
  • Kick-off in-person retreat in July at Shelburne Farms
  • 6 graduate credits
Electives (18-Credit Certificate Only)

Choose two of the following UVM courses to deepen your knowledge of sustainability in a field of personal interest, with topics like food systems, agroecology, and community design.

  • EDCI 5990 Climate Change Education (online)
  • CDAE 6210 Econ of Sustainable Food Syst
  • CDAE 6260 Community Economic Development
  • CDAE 6760 Communicating Science
  • FS 6450 Food Systems Science and Policy
  • FS 6400 Food Systems, Society and Policy
  • PSS 6110 Introduction to Agroecology (online)
  • PSS 6120 The Ecological Foundations of Agroecology (online)
  • PSS 6130 Participatory Action Research (PAR) & Transdisciplinary Approaches to Agroecology (online)
  • PSS 6140 Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, and Social Movements (online)

Elective Course Spotlight: Climate Change Education

We're excited to offer a new elective course with the University of Vermont, Climate Change Education, beginning in Fall 2024. This online course is available as an elective for students in the 18-credit certificate.

Delve into the multifaceted issue of climate change and its inherent inequities. Learn to harness the power of project-based learning and service-learning to develop engaging curricula while embracing opportunities for student involvement in climate change mitigation and adaptation. We'll cover the fundamentals of climate literacy and explore how traditional ecological knowledge, social-emotional learning, and the arts can help prepare students for the challenges of climate change. You'll be encouraged to draw on your experience and passion to inspire climate resilience and foster student agency.

To register for this course, search for EDCI 5990 in the UVM course catalog, or contact our instructors.

Students Say

The focus on relationships, mindfulness, and systems activities has been helpful. No matter what you teach, all of the things we're learning can be incorporated into any subject or grade level, and that's evident in the variety of participants. What I've enjoyed most is meeting the varied cohort. It's all about the exchange of ideas.

Susan Golden
Independent Educator, Micro Certificate '23
  • Andy Duback

    The EFS Certificates are learning cohort-based, meaning you’ll move through the program with a community of fellow educators.

  • Bear Cieri

    Facilitators bring a range of experience and will incorporate your interests and goals into every program.

  • Andrea Estey

    Although all share a goal of educating for sustainability, each student comes to the program with unique goals for their career, school, or community.

  • Andrea Estey

    In-person gatherings are a mix of workshops and intimate retreats.

  • Andrea Estey

    Shelburne Farms is a 1,400-acre working farm and an inspiring campus for learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is coursework designed for?

Coursework is designed for practicing PreK–12, post-secondary, and informal educators. Our current cohort includes educators from varied backgrounds: classroom teachers, sustainability coordinators, school librarians, full-time graduate students, and non-formal educators. Although all share a goal of educating for sustainability, each student comes to the program with unique goals for their career, school, or community.

What's the mode of instruction for these programs?

Both programs include six place-based sessions at Shelburne Farms, located in Shelburne, Vermont, as well as asynchronous and synchronous sessions online. For electives: The mode and method of instruction depends on your selected courses, but UVM does offer remote and asynchronous learning options. Many UVM students take graduate-level courses and simultaneously work full-time. Explore all graduate offerings via the course catalogue on UVM’s website.

How long does each program take to complete?

The micro certificate can be completed in six semesters, and the certificate in seven semesters. For committed students, an accelerated version of the micro certificate may be completed in three semesters from summer through the following spring. Recommended program sequence is as follows.

  • Summer 1: Foundations in EFS
  • Fall 1 or Spring 1: Elective course (18-credit certificate only)
  • Summer 2: Immersion in EFS + EFS Leadership Academy session one
  • Fall 2: EFS Leadership Academy session two
  • Fall 2 or Spring 2: Elective course (18-credit certificate only)
  • Spring 2: EFS Leadership Academy sessions three and four
What are the fees associated with the program?

Fees are based on the number of credits taken per semester. Fees below as of spring 2023.

Scholarships may be available for our programs on a need-based scale. Note that scholarship funds are limited to program fee; graduate credits are not covered.

12-credit Micro Certificate in EFS In-state Out-of-state
Core courses $2,820 $3,600
Shelburne Farms program fee $3,200 $3,200
UVM comprehensive fee $204 $204
Optional housing fee, Summer 1 $330–$825 $330–$825
Option housing fee, Summer 2 $165–$550 $165–$550
18-credit Certificate in EFS In-state Out-of-state
Core courses $2,820 $3,600
Elective courses $4,068 $10,320
Shelburne Farms program fee $3,200 $3,200
UVM comprehensive fee $306 $306
Optional housing fee, Summer 1 $330–$825 $330–$825
Optional housing fee, Summer 2 $165–$550 $165–$550
How do I apply and enroll?

Admission is on a rolling basis, but we recommend applying by early spring for a summer start. 

To enroll, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree. There is no GRE required.

Students may enroll in one course prior to matriculating into the CGS program. Students may enroll as a non-degree student through University of Vermont Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). Normal UVM tuition and fees are charged. Visit PACE for further information on course registration.

Students Say

EFS has helped me to see my role as bigger than just in my classroom, and how to affect change from within the education system. Now I see myself as a leader.

Julia Marchessault
Teacher, Micro Certificate '24
Aerial view of the University of Vermont campus in springtime. Large towering buildings stand in foreground with grassy school green in middleground. Rolling hills stand in background.
UVM Spatial Analysis Lab

Our Partnership with The University of Vermont

Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and the University of Vermont share a belief in the transformative power of education to shape a healthier, more sustainable future. Our programs combine the Institute’s international reputation for EFS professional learning and unique campus with UVM’s research capacity, land-grant mission, and commitment to high-quality teacher education.

Connect With Us

Have questions about these certificates? Start a conversation with Director of Professional Learning Jen Cirillo at or 802-985-0315. Or, complete our request for information form and someone will be in touch.